Park Advisory Board Hosts Special Meeting to Discuss Potrero Canyon

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

The Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board hosted a special meeting on Wednesday, January 29, to discuss whether it is in the board’s jurisdiction to take a position on current and future issues affecting Potrero Canyon Park.

The 46-acre park, which has been decades in the making, is slated to open April 2021.

A special meeting was called when Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair David Card, speaking as an audience member, brought to light a possible issue of encroachment of one of the homes along the rim of the canyon at the January 15 meeting. The Board then held a lengthy discussion about whether or not it falls under its jurisdiction, eventually tabling the topic for the special meeting.

“I think the first question is the jurisdictional issue—does this board have jurisdiction over what happens in Potrero Canyon?” Vice Chair Robert Harter questioned. “I hope you have some ideas on that.”

“I don’t know whose responsibility it is, the only thing I do know is that once that park is open, if there’s any issues, I know I’m going to get that phone call,” Erich Haas, park director, said.

A Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee was appointed by the City Council in 2005, Card explained.

“It has not officially met as a body as a whole since 2008,” explained Card, but the committee has informally given advice throughout the process, with at least three active members.

“We are giving advice on the design and the construction, but once the park is built, we are not going to be giving advice, probably,” Card explained.

Card said that when he was at a hearing at the Commission, at the end of a presentation, he “tried to sneak in a suggestion … that they haven’t decided or given direction as to who is going to manage Potrero Park and they need to decide and let us all know.”

Card continued that when Potrero Canyon Park opens, the area will be swarmed with people and that the Park Advisory Board will be “stuck with managing it because they are never going to appoint a second advisory board or director for just a passive park that’s trails.”

PP-PAB Member Maryam Zar confirmed with Haas that Potrero Canyon Park  is a City Department of Parks and Recreation project.

“Correct, my understanding is that when it opens, it is going to be a passive park—no programming will be allowed there,” Haas replied.

The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks owns Potrero Canyon Park down and around until Temescal Canyon.

“But it is administered by and run by the same agency that administers and runs this park, and it’s adjacent to this park?” Zar continued, which Haas again confirmed.

“Without any hard line, I dare say, I think until there’s another board that’s formed—not an advisory committee of sorts, but another board that’s formed—I dare to conjecture that anything that goes on in Potrero will impact this park and will ultimately fall on this board to address,” Zar continued.

“What if the standard be … if a matter in Potrero Canyon affects the park, then yes, we should have something to say about it, talk about it,” Harter added.

The board passed a motion to “take up any matter which may directly impact the quality” of Palisades Recreation Center and table whether the board has jurisdiction over Potrero until there is more feedback from the Department of Recreation and Parks.